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Children's Fiction Death & Dying

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez

by (author) Christiane Duchesne

illustrated by Francois Thisdale

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Death & Dying, Fantasy & Magic, Emotions & Feelings
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
k to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A growing number of curious children discover their village’s most enigmatic figure has an unexpectedly beautiful job to do in what The New York Times praises as "bewitching"

Every afternoon at four o’clock, Mister Rodriguez steps out of a narrow laneway and strolls through the street. The village children watch him go, ever more curious about the enigmatic old man with the bushy white mustache. Some say they’ve seen him float above the ground. Others say he played a piano without touching a single key. The truth, though, is more beautiful than any of the children could have imagined.

Author Christiane Duchesne and TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award-winning illustrator François Thisdale bring a touching story to life with delicacy and heart.


About the authors


Christiane Duschesne est originaire de Montréal. Elle a écrit pour la télévision, le cinéma et la radio en plus de mener une carrière d’écrivaine pour la jeunesse. Elle a remporté le prix du Gouverneur général en 1990 et en 1992 pour les livres La Vraie histoire du chien de Clara Vic et Victor. Christiane a également traduit plus de 500 livres, dont les albums tant appréciés de Robert Munsch.


Christiane Duchesne hails from Montreal. She has written for television, film, and radio in addition to her work in children’s publishing. Her works La vraie histoire du chien de Clara Vic and Victor won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature in 1990 and 1992, respectively. Christiane has also translated over 500 titles, including the beloved Robert Munsch picture books.


Christiane Duchesne's profile page


L’œuvre de François Thisdale mélange les techniques traditionnelles et l’imagerie numérique. Il est l’illustrateur de The Stamp Collector, qui a été sur la liste d’honneur IBBY, That Squeak, un livre qui s’est mérité une mention d’honneur pour le prix IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver et Missing Nimama, lauréat du prix TD de littérature pour l’enfance et la jeunesse. François vit à Montréal, au Québec.


François Thisdale's work blends traditional drawing and painting with digital imagery. He is the illustrator of The Stamp Collector, which is on IBBY Honor List, That Squeak, an honour book for the IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik- Cleaver Picture Book Award, and Missing Nimama, winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Book Award. François lives in Montreal, Quebec.


Francois Thisdale's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring
  • Short-listed, IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaer Award for Canadian Picture Books

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez

2020 IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Children's Picture Book Award finalist

2020 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring Selection

“Bewitching...[Mister Rodriguez’s] absence prompts a strong sense of community as [the children] band together to say their goodbyes…Thisdale’s realistic yet dreamlike illustrations, windswept with mist and surreal painted skies, add to the sense of wonder.”—The New York Times Book Review

“The story line speaks to the reality of death in a whimsical way, introducing it by way of it occurring to someone known by the children in the book but not someone with whom they were particularly close. VERDICT Young children beginning to learn about the concept of death will find this book to be an easy introduction to this inevitability in their lives.”—School Library Journal

“[A] surreal allegory...Acrylic and digitally altered artwork by Thisdale offers crisp, photographic realism, with misty skies of purple and green that suggest atmospheric otherworldliness.”—Publishers Weekly

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez has found another gap to fill: what about the death of a neighbour, or those people you see every day but don’t know all that well? Those who, when they suddenly disappear, take a part of the community with them?...No tears, no sentimentality, no explicit mention of death – it’s possible to read this book as a quirky story about a magical musician. It can also be appreciated just for illustrator François Thisdale’s gorgeous, painterly spreads, with their becalming greens, blues, and ochres.”—Quill & Quire

"Rating: E…[A]n uncomplicated picture book delivering a message that young children can relate to without the sadness and gloom normally associated with death. The title may initially indicate that Mister Rodriguez is going on a different voyage, not the one that readers eventually discover in the story. Overall, Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez is a perfect selection for sharing with young children, in a classroom, or a library setting.”—Resource Links

“Observed by village children, an elderly man prepares for death in this misty allegory....Duchesne adopts a first-person-plural narrative voice in which matter-of-fact declaratives bob against mild speculation and culminate in an unflappable conclusion.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The blue and grey backdrops of sky and sea are at once misty and luminous, grounded by the pretty shuttered buildings and the solid human figures, emphasizing the juxtaposition of the reality of a continental town with some pretty unusual plot elements. Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez is a rather special picture book...”—CM Magazine

“A beautifully crafted and charmingly entertaining picture book for children ages 5-8 by the team of author/storyteller Christiane Duchesne and illustrator/artist Francois Thisdale, Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.”—Midwest Book Review

“Christiane Duchesne’s text leaves open what the children actually see and what actually happened to Mister Rodriguez but still laces it with the heartfelt emotion of a dear friend’s passing. Because of the surreal, perhaps supernatural, texture of Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez, François Thisdale’s illustrations, created with acrylic and digital media, have the perfect blend of the ethereal and the realistic....Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez presents the concept of death in a wholly unique fashion, leaving open what happens after we leave the physical world.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

“I liked the innovative activity, the mystery of his actions, and the diversity of the children pictured here....This is a book that explores the imagination and leaves a lot for the reader to decide on their own. A beautiful book.”—Canadian Bookworm

“If you’re looking for a book that is filled with symbolism, beautiful (and naturalistic) illustrations that are sweeping in scope, and a gentle approach to ‘what it all means,’ then you should pick up a copy. Duchesne masterfully weaves a simple tale that elicits questions and provides few answers thereby creating necessary discussion....Bon Voyage Mister Rodriguez lets you embark on a journey of understanding–that you get to take with you into your very own set of traditions.”—Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf


Other titles by Christiane Duchesne

Other titles by Francois Thisdale